Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs (D) withdrew all state agency director nominations because MAGA Republicans in the Arizona State Senate have refused to act in good faith to review and confirm nominees.
“There are nearly three times as many nominees waiting for your review than have been considered to date. At this rate, I will be well into my second term before your political circus completes its job,” Hobbs said in a news release this afternoon.
This year, for the first time in Arizona history, the Arizona state Senate removed the vetting process from bipartisan subject-matter committees, and replaced the process with a singular MAGA-controlled committee designed to obstruct the confirmation process—courtesy of Arizona state Senator Jake "Troll Farm" Hoffman (R-MAGA) who represents our very own Legislative District 15 (San Tan Valley, Queen Creek, Southeast Mesa).
We in Arizona Legislative District 15 (D15) know Hoffman well. He is a MAGA Republican extremist who wrote and passed a law that outlawed diversity education in our state agencies. He hired teenagers and taught them how to spread misinformation. He was part of the criminal conspiracy to overturn the will of the voters and tear down our democracy. He has been helping hate group Moms for Liberty organize to take over our local school boards with their racism, book bans, and bullying of LGBTQ children. He was a fraudulent elector.
It's no surprise to us that Jake Troll Farm Hoffman is also behind the recent partisan blockade impeding the duly elected Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs from staffing the state agencies that she was elected to manage. We already know that Hoffman, as a fraudulent elector, doesn't care about the will of the voters.
The Committee on Director Nominations was a new kind of obstructionism. Hoffman called it "out of the box thinking" and expressed pride in his "creative ability" to stop Hobbs from staffing her agencies.
Hoffman delayed nomination hearings in the spring while negotiating the state budget. Then, he halted hearings again in response to abortion policies that he disagreed with. Recently, Hoffman re-started hearings in response to pressure from Republican Party leaders but has rejected nominees based on strange criteria. For example, a recent nominee was rejected for so-called plagiarism when in reality multiple advocacy organizions were following the best practice of using shared messaging language in their advocacy work.
“[Hoffman] has repeatedly tried to leverage the confirmation of qualified nominees for the implementation of his policy preferences within the Executive Branch,” Hobbs wrote.
“[Hoffman] has contacted nominees to imply that their confirmation hinged on the recission of long-standing agency policies which he has no authority over,” Hobbs wrote. “This is not the lawful role of the Senate, and is not a process in which I or my nominees will continue to participate.”
Hobbs has withdrawn 13 nominees from consideration and named them as Executive Deputy Directors of the agencies that they were nominated to lead.
“Should the Senate return to the regular order of confirming nominees as contemplated by the law, or if I am able to find qualified candidates who might satisfy the shifting, amorphous, and partisan standard for confirmation that the Senate appears to have adopted, I will resume sending nominations for the Senate’s review,” Hobbs said.
Why this matters: Governor Katie Hobbs was elected to run the executive branch of the Arizona state government. If she cannot appoint people to lead, then it's very difficult for her to manage those agencies are carry out the agendas and reforms that she promised voters. The efforts by MAGA Republicans to stop Hobbs from appointing agency leaders are just another example of MAGA Republicans attempting to thwart the will of the voters.
The bottom line: Hoffman didn't want Hobbs' agency nominees to be vetted and confirmed. In a way, he got what he wanted: Hobbs nominees will not be vetted and confirmed as agency heads.